I love to read cookbooks! AND, I love to read books (fiction and nonfiction) that have recipes in them. A dear friend recently gave me a copy of Delicious! by Ruth Reichl. The novel features a gingerbread that the heroine makes for her prospective boss—she gets hired on the spot just like I did all those years ago. Though she has traumatic memories connected with baking, happily she finally gets to a place where she can bake again with pleasure. I imagined the taste and aroma of that gingerbread throughout my reading of the book. How lovely to come to the end and be presented with the recipe! This gingerbread, Billie’s Gingerbread, is light in color and packed with spicy fresh ginger, warm spices, and bright orange zest.
Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the orange zest and grated ginger.
The recipe calls for a Bundt pan which produces a beautiful cake. A tube pan of similar capacity would work, and I also have baked it in various smaller pans. Tiny Bundt pans make for an adorable presentation, as do small panettone paper baking molds. Reduce the baking time to 30 minutes for the smaller cakes.
This gingerbread is a delightful way to start the morning, along side a cup of afternoon tea, or with ice cream for dessert.
The original recipe calls for grinding all of your own spices. I use an old coffee grinder. If you choose to grind your spices, grind them before you measure them. If that sounds like too much work, already ground spices are fine–just make sure you can remember when you bought them. Don’t use spices that are over a couple of years old.